A couple of weeks ago I went to Gothenburg to learn more about sustainable urban planning and transportation systems as part of the activities the Swedish Institute promotes each semester for the scholarship holders. We started of with a presentation about the expansion and renovation of bicycle lanes around the city and the efforts being made to increase the number of people using bikes as their main transportation. Gothenburg is a spread city, with some hills here and there, but with a well planned network and incentives for acquiring a electric bike, the number of cyclists is increasing. Also, bikes can be used for half the journey, and the city is working to integrate better all different types of transportation. We then had a presentation about the new bridge they are building to connect the two sides of the river, the Hisings Bridge. What impressed me the most about this project was how mindful they were about including the population into the process, marketing the ideia and not only build the bridge, but think about how the city should develop on the other side of the river. We got to walk to the construction site, which by itself was impressive.
In the afternoon, we had lecture about autonomous cars that was very intriguing and brought up discussions about legal frameworks and how a city without drivers would actually work. They are working to put together the world they want to live in and there is already some autonomous cars running as test around the city. It kept me thinking how we must consider from where the resource to built such systems will come from and if it could be accessible to everyone. We ended the day with a ferry trip (it’s for free) and a lecture about the future urban planning plans for the city, they are big!! Because of its history as a important port, Gothenburg is a little tricky when it comes to urban configuration, but feels like the city is being almost rebuilt and setting the bar for sustainable and innovative urban planning practices.
After the program for the day was over I went for a walk around the town with some friends I met there, it was a beautiful sunny day (it rains a lot there so I heard) and we decided to have some drinks, it was a great day! Gothenburg is a beautiful city just 4 hours away from Linköping and it is perfect for short trips.
How the Hisings Bridge will look like: